Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cornbread- A Thanksgiving treat in Ireland

I could apologize for my absence but instead I will say in form of explanation that Christmas is approaching and therefore so are my semester end assignments.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow though and therefore even as a novice food blogger I feel that it is my duty to report at Thanksgiving recipe. Even if it weren't I have to say I thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving. I have celebrated it many times in America and with Americans in other countries. There are many elements of this holiday that I enjoy, namely the many varieties of  pie, but by far my favourite part of the thanksgiving meal has to be the cornbread. I love cornbread. Since the day I discovered that the genius people in America found a way to serve cake as part of the main meal I have devour it at every available opportunity. However in Ireland these opportunities are few and far between, so I make my own!!

Cornbread (irishstyle)

250g Polenta
175g Self -raising Flour, + 1tsp baking powder sieved together
150g Demerara Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 eggs
250ml Butter/whole fat Milk (if you choose the Butter milk the double the salt and add more sugar to taste)
150ml vegetable oil or butter

Sieve together the dry ingredients and whisk together the wet ingredients. Then using the hollow in the centre method combine the wet ingredients into the dry. Only mix until everything is combined not until completely smooth, i.e. don't over mix the batter or it will be a tough bread. Place your mixture into a parchment lined tina and bake at 175 degrees for 15-20 mins
Cool and enjoy with chili or just a smidge of butter or maple syrup.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

One of the best desserts my mother ever showed me was Bread and Butter Pudding. It was something that she made very rarely but she made very well. I have very fond memories of seeing her puddings in the oven, smelling the beautiful aroma and the excitement that accompanied that.
This week we did not touch our bread and this morning I realized that it was an eat now or dump situation. So I decided to whip out the old bread and butter pudding recipe, this time however with a change. It's November and the Christmas season is well and truly alive in the shops around me. This inspired me to use cinnamon butter instead of butter and raisins. It is of course possible to include raisins here and probably delicious.

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

1 Loaf Bread of choice, we had a seeded bread but white/light brown would work
1.5L milk
100g butter
50g Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
Icing sugar to decorate

Lay your bread in a layer on the bottom of a roasting dish. Mix your room temperature butter, sugar and cinnamon to make a paste and spread this on the bread, then add another layer of bread, spread more paste and so on and so forth until the dish is full or your bread it gone.
Ina jug whisk your eggs and add milk. Pour this mixture over the bread and push the bread into the liquid until it is soaked. Store this in the fridge for 1 hour. Then bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown
Let this cool and then decorate with icing sugar.

Enjoy with ice-cream and a smile!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A failed attempt at caramel apples and It's a Spicy meatball

For every great success there are a number of unmentionable failures and well in this post I intend to mention one of these and at least someone can learn from my mistakes and possibly advise me on what I am doing wrong.

Every year at Halloween I intend or attempt to make Caramel Apples. I hate how they taste but the idea of them appeal to me for some reason I cannot explain. Perhaps it is the all american-ness, perhaps it feels like the only pg13 adult way to enjoy the holiday. However every year they evade me and then I vow to do better next year. So far I have yet to succeed.
I make beautiful caramel, this sounds so modest but I think I must defend myself on this element of the recipe. I have tried changing this caramel to suit the apples, thicker, thinner, hotter, colder. It never sticks Every time I try these the caramel runs off. I have tried washing the apples, cooling the apples and it never works. I have tried applying a thin layer of caramel and then adding to it but the new caramel heats the old caramel and pulls it away from the apple.

This year I came close. I had a delicious recipe with Burnt Caramel, and salty toasted almonds to coat. however despite my preparation and consideration I ended up with this -

Clearly this is not what I was hoping to achieve and as you can see even after the caramel had set on the apples the weight of the toasted almonds dragged the caramel to a pool on the bottom of the apples.

Therefore Caramel apples was not an option for the blog. I wanted something else seasonal so I made toasted vanilla pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin we carved. However these were apparently so delicious that they were all consumed before I had a chance to photograph the, brilliant!! At that point i gave up on my Halloween baking and then I made these delicious little fellas - 

Admittedly they are not baking products persay, however they are spicy, slightly sweet and they are baked in the oven.

Halloween Spicy Turkey Meatballs.

500g Lean Minced Turkey
2 eggs
200g Barn Brack Crumbs
100g finely grated Emmenthal or other strong cheese.

Mix All of your ingredients in a bowl and then use a spoon or your hands to form balls. bake these in the over for 20mins or until the turkey exceeds 79'.
Cover with your tomato sauce of choice and eat with noodles, linguine, spaghetti, in a sub, your choice. The meatballs are beautifully moist and the barn brack adds a spicy flavour that really puts one in the mood for the start of winter and the many holidays that go with it. The sweetness of the cake also counteracts the strong cheese and the overall experience is one that I will enjoy many times over the rest of the winter.

So.........that went well......but I'm back with a bang!

At the start of the year I said that I would try to post more regularly and......yeah....that didn't happen =/ Finishing this doctorat...